Monday, August 23, 2010

It Happened One Night | 1934 | Pack a sandwich, this post is a long one.




Heiress Ellen Andrews (Claudet Colbert) has escaped her father and is trying to get to her new husband, King Westley (Jameson Thomas), before her father can intercept and force her to annul the marriage. With detectives on her tail, and her face on the front page of all the major newspapers, she travels by bus to keep a low profile. Sharing the ride with her from Miami to New York is Peter Warne (Clark Gabel), a recently fired reporter desperate for a big scoop to save his career.


We were so much more collegial back then.  Not campus-based collegiate, and not office-style colleagues, those words sound brotherly but actually separate educated from not, and white collar from blue collar from no collar.  Nope, not the right words for us.  We were all different, and we knew it, but we never forgot that we were in all of this together.  


It wasn’t all hunky-dory, but that’s what made it great.  Like in “It Happened One Night,” Peter Warne (Clark Gable) insults his boss, has a toe-to-toe argument with a bus driver, and meets Ellen (Claudette Colbert) because he is bickering with her over a bus seat.  Peter’s boss yells back.  The bus driver confronts the unruly passenger.  Ellen keeps the seat, and Peter calls her on it.  (With not subtle and not unfunny foreshadowing he says, “That upon which you sit is mine.”)  After a bit of back and forth, he sits down forcing her to share the not-quite-two-person seat.  That was back then, now the boss wouldn’t yell back for fear his employee would respond with a harassment lawsuit, corporate rules would dictate the bus driver call for his supervisor, and Peter would let the lady have the seat but would stand near-by and glower at her. 


Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Allure of Messy Lives | Katie Roiphe | The New York Times | July 30, 2010

In "The Allure of Messy Lives," an article exploring why Mad Men is so popular, Katie Roiphe thinks it has much to do with the fact that we can look back and feel smug at how far we've evolved (at least in terms of things like not letting kids walk around with dry cleaning bags on their heads).  Then she asks:  But is there also the tiniest bit of wistfulness, the slight but unmistakable hint of longing toward all that stylish chaos, all that selfish, retrograde abandon?

Tiny? Hint? For me it is full on longing, desire, jealousy, and inspiration. If I weren't living like a recent escapee from the dust bowl, I'd not be very well behaved at all. And containing myself is driving me a bit batty.

Roiphe continues, "Of course people still have hangovers and affairs, but what dominates the wholesome vista is a sense that everything we do should be productive, should be moving toward a sane and balanced end. The idea that you would do something just for the momentary blissful escape of it, for intensity, for strong feeling, is out of fashion."

It seems more than out of fashion, I'm sure that it was probably recently listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

I just wish I had the ability to be unfashionably indulgent.  Not materially indulgent, but life-experience indulgent.

Though materially indulgent would be pretty fun now and again too.  I do miss nice clothes.

More soon...